When Ryan Flaherty parted ways with the Baltimore Orioles and moved to the National League, his regular visits to Fenway Park ended. But the Red Sox schedule this year featured interleague games with Flaherty’s new team, the Atlanta Braves.

“And with an off day,” Flaherty said. “You can’t beat that.”

The Braves were off Thursday before their weekend series at Fenway Park. That allowed Flaherty to drive to Maine to visit family and friends in his native Portland. Many went to Fenway on Friday.

Before Friday’s game, Flaherty chatted with his dad – University of Southern Maine baseball coach Ed Flaherty – and friends during batting practice. He waved to fans who called out to him – most of them yelling out their Maine hometown.

What family, friends and fellow Mainers did not see is Flaherty play this weekend. That was no surprise, because the Red Sox started three left-handers – Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale – and the left-handed hitting Flaherty usually only plays against right-handers these days.

“I joked with Price that they threw three lefties to keep me out of the lineup,” Flaherty said, referring to David Price – another lefty – who was his teammate at Vanderbilt University.

The idea of not wanting to face Flaherty is not completely far-fetched, since he does have a career .308 batting average at Fenway.

But Flaherty is sitting for other reasons. He has gone from the National League’s leading hitter in mid-April to resuming his utility role, playing a variety of positions.

“The utility role is unique,” he said. “It changes night to night, week to week, month to month … Sometimes, you’re playing every day. Sometimes, you’re watching every day. You have to adjust.”

Flaherty has not appeared in a game since last Wednesday. He will likely play Monday when the Braves play a doubleheader against the Mets.

On April 21, Flaherty was batting .362. It was a pleasant surprise for the Braves, who signed Flaherty right before the season when injuries opened up roster spots, especially at third base. Atlanta got a veteran, one who’s considered a light hitter but who can play several positions.

Flaherty never got carried away with his numbers. He was healthy and playing regularly, but also knew it was April. “It’s a long season. You got to grind it every day,” Flaherty said in an interview last month.

His numbers dropped to .308 by the end of April. He’s played off and on since, and is now batting .275 (with a .368 on-base percentage and a .744 OPS).

The Braves kept their options open. They signed Jose Bautista to play third base, then released him after 12 games. Their young third baseman, switch-hitter Johan Camargo, came off the disabled list and has been starting, although he’s struggling (.208 average). Camargo sat Sunday, and another right-handed hitter, Charlie Culberson, started at third. He went 1 for 4 and is batting .204.

Of course, Flaherty wants to play every day. “Everybody wants to, and that means there are four guys who have to sit over there,” Flaherty said, pointing to the bench.

“You just stay ready and try to do what you can.”

Besides, Flaherty can remember two months ago when he was not on a major league roster.

“I have a job, and jobs are good,” he said.

Flaherty is part of an interesting team. The Braves, losers of 90 or more games each of the past three seasons, lead the NL East.

“Been an exciting two months,” Flaherty said. “Young kids are playing well. Got some veteran guys sprinkled in there. It’s a unique mix and it’s working. Just got to keep going.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: ClearTheBases

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